Book Review

Book Review: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + mythology
Length: 377 pages
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Release Date: June 28th, 2005
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAITED THIS LONG TO READ THIS.

This was so good I didn’t even bother taking notes for it (like I do with most reviews) because I didn’t want to stop reading to make a note of anything major.

It’s simple. It was a great more youthful read.

I love Percy and Annabeth. I already know they’re endgame and I am so here for this development. It was cute because I felt like they were twelve, but never so immature that I was distracted by it. The way Riordan presented them made them seem like characters you could love and understand. I felt they were relatable in many ways.

There were a lot of twists and turns and the action kept continually flowing (not to mention the funny chapter titles). I was actually a bit surprised when it came out who was the current bad guy. I didn’t see it coming, which is always a nice break. I thought the gods were fun and found it whimsical to picture Poseidon in a Hawaiian shirt and Zeus in a suit.

Don’t take this short review as a bad thing, it was a highly enjoyable read that kept me interested and intrigued for book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult (leaning towards middle-grade) fantasy + mythology
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: never gory or overly detailed, knives physical, fire

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Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Auto-Buy Authors

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!

Lots of authors to choose from today! I love seeing everyone’s answers because they’re SO MANY AUTHORS out there. It’s great to look into new authors and support as many as possible. I’m also counting authors I read from the library because I know that sometimes that is a version of “auto-buy” and it’s how I can read more too. Requesting a purchase from your library is a great option!

These are a handful of some of my favorite authors (with a book or two I love by them):

Sarah J. Maas


Amy Harmon


Brandon Sanderson


Leigh Bardugo


Danielle L. Jensen


Colleen Hoover


Tahereh Mafi


Tricia Levenseller


Mary E. Pearson


Brené Brown   

Are any of these authors on your auto-buy list? What’s an author not on mine that’s on yours? Lets talk in the comments!

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BOTM

Book of the Month YA: July Picks (& What I Chose!)

It’s July!

And that means new BOTM YA Picks! Here’s what was chosen in July and what I picked. At the bottom you’ll find a link for sign-up if you’re interested!


Fantasy:

Wicked Fox (Gumiho #1) by Kat Cho (Debut!)

A fresh and addictive fantasy-romance set in modern-day Seoul.

Eighteen-year-old Gu Miyoung has a secret–she’s a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who must devour the energy of men in order to survive. Because so few believe in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men no one will miss, the modern city of Seoul is the perfect place to hide and hunt.

But after feeding one full moon, Miyoung crosses paths with Jihoon, a human boy, being attacked by a goblin deep in the forest. Against her better judgment, she violates the rules of survival to rescue the boy, losing her fox bead–her gumiho soul–in the process.

Jihoon knows Miyoung is more than just a beautiful girl–he saw her nine tails the night she saved his life. His grandmother used to tell him stories of the gumiho, of their power and the danger they pose to humans. He’s drawn to her anyway. 

With murderous forces lurking in the background, Miyoung and Jihoon develop a tenuous friendship that blossoms into something more. But when a young shaman tries to reunite Miyoung with her bead, the consequences are disastrous . . . forcing Miyoung to choose between her immortal life and Jihoon’s.


Contemporary Fiction:

Past Perfect Life by Elizabeth Eulberg

Small-town Wisconsin high school senior Allison Smith loves her life the way it is-spending quality time with her widowed father and her tight-knit circle of friends, including best friend Marian and maybe-more-than-friends Neil. Sure she is stressed out about college applications . . . who wouldn’t be? In a few short months, everything’s going to change, big time.
But when Ally files her applications, they send up a red flag . . . because she’s not Allison Smith. And Ally’s-make that Amanda’s-ordinary life is suddenly blown apart. Was everything before a lie? Who will she be after? And what will she do as now comes crashing down around her?


Romance:

Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra

The youngest doctor in America, an Indian-American teen makes her rounds―and falls head over heels―in the contemporary romantic comedy Symptoms of a Heartbreak.

Fresh from med school, sixteen-year-old medical prodigy Saira arrives for her first day at her new job: treating children with cancer. She’s always had to balance family and friendships with her celebrity as the Girl Genius―but she’s never had to prove herself to skeptical adult co-workers while adjusting to real life-and-death stakes. And working in the same hospital as her mother certainly isn’t making things any easier.

But life gets complicated when Saira finds herself falling in love with a patient: a cute teen boy who’s been diagnosed with cancer. And when she risks her brand new career to try to improve his chances, it could cost her everything.

It turns out “heartbreak” is the one thing she still doesn’t know how to treat.

In her solo debut, Sona Charaipotra brings us a compelling #ownvoices protagonist who’s not afraid to chase what she wants. Symptoms of a Heartbreak goes from romantic comedy highs to tearjerker lows and is the ultimate cure-all for young adult readers needing an infusion of something heartfelt.


Magical Realism:

All of Us With Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil (Debut!)

Michelle Ruiz Keil’s YA fantasy debut about love, found family, and healing is an ode to post-punk San Francisco through the eyes of a Mexican-American girl.

Seventeen-year-old Xochi is alone in San Francisco, running from her painful past: the mother who abandoned her, the man who betrayed her. Then one day, she meets Pallas, a precocious twelve-year-old who lives with her rock-star family in one of the city’s storybook Victorians. Xochi accepts a position as Pallas’s live-in governess and quickly finds her place in their household, which is relaxed and happy despite the band’s larger-than-life fame.

But on the night of the Vernal Equinox, as a concert afterparty rages in the house below, Xochi and Pallas accidentally summon a pair of ancient creatures devoted to avenging the wrongs of Xochi’s adolescence. She would do anything to preserve her new life, but with the creatures determined to exact vengeance on those who’ve hurt her, no one is safe—not the family she’s chosen, nor the one she left behind.


Magical Realism:

The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World by Amy Reed

Billy Sloat and Lydia Lemon don’t have much in common, unless you count growing up on the same (wrong) side of the tracks, the lack of a mother, and a persistent loneliness that has inspired creative coping mechanisms.

When the lives of these two loners are thrust together, Lydia’s cynicism is met with Billy’s sincere optimism, and both begin to question their own outlook on life. On top of that, weird happenings including an impossible tornado and an all-consuming fog are cropping up around them—maybe even because of them. And as the two grow closer and confront bigger truths about their pasts, they must also deal with such inconveniences as a narcissistic rock star, a war between unicorns and dragons, and eventually, of course, the apocalypse.

My pick for July was: Wicked Fox! As someone OBSESSED with fantasy this book sounds so up my alley. I love that it has Korean mythology and think that is going to be so refreshing and new in the YA world. There appears to be some romance too, and we all know I love anything with a good romance. I am stoked to get to this debut novel and can’t wait to share my review with you!

If you’re interested in any of these books or signing up in general, please click the link below!

Book of the Month YA

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Book Review

Book Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 528 pages
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 73rd, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

A FUN SUMMER READ

a Bookstagram friend recommended this when I was looking for distracting books that I could be wrapped up in. I loved that this totally came through and I found myself flying through it.

I loved all of the dogs in here because I personally used to work with dogs so I felt all of this on a personal level. I thought it was unique too as I haven’t seen that be part of a plot before. I honestly think it would be the perfect summer job to walk dogs! HOW FUN.

The love story was cute. I was invested in it from the start and loved Clark. He was sweet, and nerdy and I would definitely be into a fantasy writer. Their interactions were absolutely precious and I had no problems loving them. I wish they both communicated a little better with each other, but overall I actually loved that it wasn’t enemies to lovers (my generally favorite trope). This was a summer fling kind of romance and YES. I am all over it.

Andie’s friends on the other hand were realllll annoying at times. That and the fact that for a contemporary I felt 500+ pages was too long were my only issues. Some random pieces of her friends lives were almost playing too big of a part in the story, and then it kind of ended weird? I understood where her friend was coming from, but was also reallll confused.

Andie had some Daddy issues that caused her to spiral at times but I liked her character. She was a lot more emotionally aware as a teen than I expected, even when she made some mistakes. She had to bounce back from a lot as she tried to navigate her summer and what was more important. There was a strong take on communication and re-connecting with family. I appreciated and enjoyed watching Andie and her Dad both work at their relationship.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: lots of kisses & make-outs, discussion of “bases” and going all the way but no actual depicted love scenes

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Book Review

Book Review: Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + mystery + historical
Length: 299 pages
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 16th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre. 

LOVE THE QUIRKY CHARACTERS.

I feel a short and sweet review coming.

This was a simply Sherlock-esque book with some twists. I loved that Jacakby’s abilities allowed him to see all sorts of paranormal and fantastical things. The unique mix of creatures and monsters in the world kept me on my toes.

I loved having Abigail Rook as the POV. She sees Jackaby in a light we wouldn’t get from his side (and frankly, might be a bit scattered if we did, haha). She’s stubborn, insightful and easy-going. It was effortless to fall for these characters. Jackaby definitely reminds me of Sherlock and I laughed out a loud a few times at the things he would say and the banter between him and Abigail.

The mystery had its own enigma that even surprised me a few times. I was amazed that the entire 300 page book took the space of three days. It makes me curious for the rest of the series as to how they’re spaced out.

Overall audience notes:

  • Middle-grade/Young adult historical fantasy/mystery
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: descriptions of bloody murders, a few fight scenes with guns, physical and the supernatural

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Book Review

Book Review: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Rating: ☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 416 pages
Author: Joan He
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Release Date: April 9th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Tyrants cut out hearts. Rulers sacrifice their own.

Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, but when her beloved father is murdered, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of an unstable kingdom. Determined to find her father’s killer, Hesina does something desperate: she engages the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by death… because in Yan, magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information illicitly provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust even her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of her kingdom at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?

In this shimmering Chinese-inspired fantasy, debut author Joan He introduces a determined and vulnerable young heroine struggling to do right in a world brimming with deception.

SO MUCH POTENTIAL.

Ugh, y’all. I get so sad when I read a book and your expectations are not met at all.

Hesina desperately wants to be Queen after she finds her father was murdered so she can avenge him. Lofty goals I’m cool with, but she was obsessed over doing this. And once that was taken care of, did she grow and become a solid, stunning Queen? No. Instead she continually remained naive, annoyingly stubborn, indecisive, and blindsided by every single thing. The main character alone had me questioning a DNF.

I had a hard time emotionally connecting to any of the characters. Nobody had a background. I got bits and pieces for some of them, but nothing that made me want to cheer for them or hope they get stabbed. No emotions. When a few died, I realized I wasn’t shocked whatsoever.

The plot twists were seen from miles away, while this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, what did annoy me was what came after. For instance, one of the characters was clearly shady. But when all that came out it it turns out that they were doing this to protect Hesina. WHAT. I was ALL FOR THE VILLAIN, and when that sputtered it sealed the deal for my rating.

The Chinese inspired themes were the best part of this book. The descriptions of the beautiful clothing and the other pieces of influence were amazing. I loved the different breath it gave young adult fantasy, I was just wishing for more overall.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy
  • Romance: none
  • Language: a** a few times
  • Violence: poison, knives, torture, fire, murder
  • Trigger warnings: attempted suicide, and suicide

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Book Review

Book Review: Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: YA historical fantasy romance
Length: 464 pages
Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 4th, 2014
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The powerful third book in Robin LaFever’s critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling His Fair Assassins series perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Kristin Cashore, and Victoria Aveyard leaves Annith with a desperate decision to make that not only affects the future of Brittany, but the destiny of the god of Death Himself. 

In the powerful third book in Robin LaFever’s critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling His Fair Assassins series, tensions between Brittany and Frace continue to rise as Annith watches her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own. She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind, doesn’t mean she has.
    Combining romance, action, and political intrigue, Mortal Heart delivers a breathtaking conclusion to the war between Brittany and France…for now. 

TAGLINE

As the final book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy I was expecting a bigger finale. Unfortunately I feel like this was essentially the same book as the others.

The plot was still exactly the same. Annith is the final assassin from the convent to get intertwined with the duchess trying to save Brittany from France. A lot of the same issues are re-hashed as they were previously. A few side plots were added in to add some edge, but I have this story twice before already, I was hoping for something new.

I did really like Annith. I thought her character growth was strong. She finally started standing up for herself and demanding the answers she deserved. While it made some of her choices rash, it also showed her strength in her decisions.

Her love story with the knight was along the same lines of the previous two installments. While it did have a noticeable difference, it was easy to see that coming. I loved their banter and interactions every time they were together. I would have loved even more of them!

Some of the plot was obvious to fill in the blanks, there was one moment where I was like oohhhhh because I actually did not see that coming. It brought Annith’s story to a close and I was happy to have all the answers I wanted too.

All of these books expertly wove politics, history and religion. I liked seeing how each aspect affected characters and showed what they valued most. This book wraps everything up and I feel pleased with how things were tied together. I got my happy ending which is what I’m always after!

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fantasy romance
  • Romance: a few kisses, one tiny-detailed fade to black love scene
  • Language: none
  • Violence: arrows, knives, poison

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